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" Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.' (Prov. iii. 17.) THIS is the last service we hold together as evangelist and people. I want it to be a service of power. There are mingled feelings of joy and sadness that I can't express in words. There are things I love to contemplate. I love to contemplate the congregations of heaven that ne'er break np and the Sabbaths that have no end. I am grateful to God that I was ever permitted to come to this city. I never felt so small in all my life. Some talk about the dizzy heights. I am lying flat on my back on the ground. I never want to get off the ground. The way up is down. I am on this grand old ship. I will never jump overboard. I am going to walk out on the banks of eternal deliverance. I have counted the cost; I have surveyed the field. I purposely, deliberately, intelligently put all my capital in this bank. I will never check it out until I get into heaven. It will be given to me forever and ever. I want every man who is undecided to decide to-night. I want you to act to-night. A decision to go to Louisville is not worth a cent unless it takes you down to the train and puts you on board. You might decide to go to Louisville every hour in the day, but that decision is not worth any thing until you put yourself on the train. A man tola me last night he had decided to join the Church (281)
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"Well, walk up and join it then," I said. "I ain't ready," he answered. Yon have not decided. That is it. The best evidence that a man has decided to go to Louisville is that you see him on the train about five minutes before it starts. Some of you are waiting for feeling. You have waited through the best meeting you ever saw, and here you are to-night waiting, getting on grandly! coming along swimmingly! I am not inquiring whether I feel like I am going home, but I am inquiring if the train leaves at a certain time. I don't look at my feelings when I am on the train, but I listen to train-men calling out the stations. When I hear them call out " Murfreesboro," I know that, feeling or no feeling, I am on my way home. When they call out " Tullahoma," I know that is another station on my journey, feeling or no feeling. When they call out " Chattanooga," I know, feeling or no feeling, that I am ninety miles from home. Only when a fellow starts to the good world he leaves off his sins and starts with the means of grace, and all you need to inquire about is, "What are the stations on the way?" The first station is "Repentance." That is a station on the way to heaven, feeling or no feeling. The next station is the "Church of God," feeling or no feeling. The brakeman cries out, "Brotherly Love!" I like that. That is one of the grandest stations on the way to God. Do you know that? ext I find myself at the station of "Complete Consecration." That is a magnificent station. I would n't mind stopping a day or two there; but I run on to the next station, that of "Family Prayer." I would like to abide there a day or two. I have been looking up the stations all along the way. They are
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all good. The devil goes about preaching feeling; God preaches faith. The Bible doesn't say "Whosoever feels," but "Whosoever will." Do you see that? When a fellow has got feeling, and nothing but feeling, I always think may be it is something he has eaten. Feeling is the lowest element in religion. True religion is not feeling; but religion is a principle. It is a grand principle underlying every stratum of human life, and keeps a man straight. That is it. If we are farmers, let us plow and plant, and let God rain and shine. Let us do our part, and let the Lord attend to his own business. ow, will you start to heaven? God says, " Choose ye this day whom ye will serve." Well, if God tells me to choose whom I will serve, I will make a choice. I will not serve the devil any longer, but I will from this day forth serve God. How can a man be damned when he is doing just what God told him to do? If I had a bad boy, and he had been off cursing and lying and living in rebellion against me, I want that boy to come up to me and say, "I have been doing wrong." "Are you sorry enough to quit? " If he says he is, "That is enough, my son. Give me your hand. I love you. Come to my arms." That is all I ask. I will attend to the rest. God is my Father. I am his child. Let us strip the mystery from this question, and let us meet the issue like men. If there is any thing the Lord has to do before yoa can go to heaven, I will go his security. I say it reverently. The Lord will attend to his part if you attend to yours. When I started to heaven I had no more religion than a calf. I was as mean, as completely rebellious, as any man ever was. If there was any thing the devil wanted me to do that
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I didn't do, it was because I didn't know how. But I made the promise to my father on his death-bed that I would meet him in heaven, and every step since has been toward the good world. Many things have happened since then. My, my! there have been some big times. You start to-night, even if you are the meanest fellow in town, and some things will happen before next week. That ain't-got-any-feelin' and fittin' business is a trick of the devil to catch sinners, and he is catching them. Thank God, we also are catching many of them! Christ told his disciples he would make them fishers of men. I recollect when I was a boy I used to go fishing. I have sat on the banks of a stream three, four, and five hours, and at last pulled out a big perch, then a big trout, and after a little while longer a big cat-fish. Finally the minnows would begin to bite. Then I would jerk and jerk, and they would get my bait. I have been troubled with them here. At last the minnows would quit biting, and my cork would turn over on the water; then I would pull out, and there would be an old terrapin. Then I would take in my tackle and go home. I see by the town papers that the terrapins are beginning to bite. I believe one of these terrapins is named " Skylark." I wish he would come up here and let us take a look at him and see his little terrapin head. It is time to quit fishing when the terrapins begin to bite. Fishermen of men, if you will watch now in this town for the next three weeks you will see that the terrapins will be a-nibbling ow, you watch them. Take my utterances since 1 have been in this town, and if I have not been square to God, to truth, and to right, it is because I did n't know it. If I have not given wrong in all of its as-
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pects my attention, I do n't know what I am talking about. I am down on wrong. I do n't like the wrong. When yon hear a fellow on the street express himself against me, ask him if he ever stole any thing, or ever got drunk, or how many wives he has. You won't have to ask him more than five questions until you will tree him; for if a man's life is right, what quarrel has he got with me? You nom de plume gentlemen, rack out over your own signatures. You are afraid to do that. I want you to give your heart to God and come up here and join the Church to-night, and let us go to heaven together. I say to you: "My brother, I love you, and would like to see you changed from a terrapin into a great big trout." ow, this change is a sort of preface to what we propose to say, and the prelude may be longer than what will follow. We invite your attention to these words — listen: "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." The Christian life is often spoken of as a way, and we are spoken of as walking in that way. We have it before us to-night as a plain declaration of the word of God that the Christian life is a way of pleasantness, and all its paths are paths of peace. iVs difficult as the road may seem to you, as many obstacles as present themselves* in your way, it is ten thousand times easier to be a Christian than to be a sinner and go down to hell. The sinner has a hard road. Sometimes he has to go over a brokenhearted wife, and against a poor, weeping, gray-headed mother's prayers, and trample on his own convictions of right, and overleap the highest mountains of grace, to make his way to hell, while the Christian can find a level path leading all the way to God. I want to
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talk a little out of my own experience, and out of this book; for if I can't bring this book down to my experience, and my experience up to this book, you may burn it up — it is not worth any thing to me. Bring the book down to a level with me, or bring me up to the level of the book — then it is God's book to me. If I am starting on a journey, it is worth something to know that I shall have strength and ability for the whole trip. Many invalids start South in December, and die in Atlanta or Macon. They die before they reach, the land of sun and flowers. How many of them on their return to their homes stop off and die! It would be sad to know that I may not have strength to go through. It is a grand trip — the trip to heaven — it is a grand journey. Every Christian starts from the beginning with the consciousness that he will have strength to make the whole trip. I believe in final perseverance, thank God! You know what final perseverance means. It is just catch hold, and hold on and never tarn loose. I am going to persevere to the end, God being my helper. God has promised that all things necessary shall be provided for me along the way. I do n't know whether I shall have strength to get through preaching or not, but thank God I know I have strength enough to get to heaven! I do n't know whether my physical frame will enable me to go to Georgia, but if next week does n't find me at home it will find me in heaven. I shall have strength to make every step of the road to the celestial city. Thank God for that sweet consciousness! It is worth all the world to me. It is worth a good deal when a traveler starts on a journey to have all needful accommodations along the way. A great many way?
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are unpleasant for the want of good accommodations along the road. At every eating-house along this way you will find heaven's bread and angel's food. David said : " He prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; he anointeth my head with oil; my cup runneth over." There never was a call for a physician that didn't mean something; and some of these days, and may be before thirty days from to-day, a doctor will be called to you, and he will visit you about ten days, and then there will be black crape on the front door. God grant that he who sends for the doctor first may be prepared ! David said, " He prepareth a table." Thank God, there is not one of them that fear the Lord that suffer along the way ! I find every needful accommodation all along. " I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." It is worth something to know that the eating-houses hold out all the way. It is worth a great deal to a man that is about to take a journey to have a good God on the way. Thank God, I have a good God with me and the angels of God encamping round about me at night! Thank God for a good God to go with me in every hour of peril, to protect me and to shield me so that no danger shall come in reach of me! Bunyan's old pilgrim looked ahead on the road apiece and saw a lion. He was standing by the path, shaking his shaggy mane and flashing his cruel eyes \ with a vengeance. The pilgrim was told to go right in the middle of the path. The lion was chained, and could not get a paw on the path. Right in the middle of the path of duty there is no power in earth or hell that can harm you; but you had better mind how yor>
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take to the bushes along the way — there is danger there! It helps to make the journey pleasant also to hare a good guide — one that knows the way. This Divine Power, that leads men the first step, and on and on, knows the way from earth to heaven. He knows every fork, and he says: "Take my hand, and I will lead you in paths of righteousness." Thank God that while there are ten thousand by-paths leading to hell, there is one road that leads to heaven! Will you take this Guide to be your guide? Will you lift your head ap in the dark and say, " Father, take my hand and *ead me in the paths of righteousness? " Yes, I have a good Guide to go with me. You have been trying to find the way by yourselves. There are too many cross-roads and forks. Get a guide. Holy Spirit, heavenly Guide, take possession of us to-night, and lead us all the way! It is worth something to the traveler to know that he will have daylight all the way. I have traveled at night when it has been so dark I was afraid my horse might run up against something and break my buggy. Thank God, in this trip from earth to heaven you have daylight all the way! You are a child of light; you shall not walk in the darkness. A road is easy to travel in the day-time. A preacher once came to my house. The mud was twelve or eighteen inches deep. When he arrived he said: "I thought I would never get out here; I had an awful time." ext morning he got on his horse, and in the daylight he could ride along on the high and dry places. Look here, sister, you get off in the dark and mud, and you have a time of it. You have to stop to pull one foot out of the mud, and then the other gets in deeper. I like this daylight business. Thank God
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for the light shining on my pathway all the length of the celestial road! Sister, if you want light, get up on this way. Then, it helps to make a journey pleasant if you have got far to go to have good company on the way. I feel here now something like Simon Peter felt on the Mount of Transfiguration. I would like to complete the tabernacle, and live with you forever. If I had let my head work out this problem, I would be here in a pleasant home. God bless you, I have had nothing but good company! That fellow that said he could ship all the Christians in ashville to Atlanta with a two-cent postage-stamp — I tell him he then told the biggest lie he ever told in his life. For fear some might read that in the paper and think I said it, I will say that I never said that, or any thing like it. I said I could send about five hundred of you little fellows, but not one of your first-class members, and you have got a heap more of them now than you had then. Every Christian man on his way to heaven has a great deal of good company to go with him. Your preachers have good company. The members of the Church have good company. Thank God for every good man on the face of this earth! I may never look in your face any more, but every man and woman here will be company for me journeying on through life to heaven. Thank God for good company! To the unconverted let me say: "Join this company — this holy, happy band. They have said, ' Come and go with us. 1 Join them to-night, and go with us through to the celestial city. Won't you ? " Then, it helps to make the journey pleasant to know that the way lies through green pastures and beside still waters. David says, " He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." At times we can 19
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recline on the ground, then we can walk on, and then run through the pastures on our way to God. Thank God for the pools on the way-side! The Baptists are in charge of these pools, but they are mighty liberal. You can get all the water you want. And there are other Christians that own stock in that pool too. I have never known them to be selfish about it. They are a liberal, noble people. There is not a pool on the way that I would cut a ditch through and dry up. Blessed be God, on we go rejoicing! It helps to make the journey pleasant to know that it ends well. O me! if a man goes on a bad errand, I don't care what advantages he may have on the way, he is not happy; but if he is on a good errand, nothing can make him unhappy. He is looking forward to that blessed hope of the glory of the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest delight of my life is in sometimes looking ahead. In my past life I have taken my eyes off of the blessed hope. I got to thinking in this way: "You had better go back to law for a few years, and then come back and go to preaching again. You love your wife and your children, and you wish to see them comfortable and happy. What harm is there in going back to law and working to get a competency, and then resume preaching?" But, thank God, when I get my eyes back on that blessed hope, this world whittles down until it is about as small as a rubber ball under my feet! Suppose you owned the whole State of Tennessee — what is that compared to the United States? Suppose you owned the whole United States — what is that compared to the world? Suppose you owned the whole world — you could put two such worlds as this in your vest-pocket, go up and
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spend a night at the Dog Star, and yon wouldn't have enough to pay your hotel bill in the morning. A poor fool, running after the world and taking hold of the world ! You turn this old world loose and make heavQn your inheritance. If your father owned the world, and all the stars, and every thing else, would you consider yourself poor? Sir, I am a joint heir of his only-begotten Son. My Father is rich in houses and lands, and promises me "an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." There is room enough in paradise to give us all a home in glory. Thank God, when I get there I am done being poor white folks forever! When I get there I am done with tears forever. I have cried many a time. I have been sometimes where if I could not have cried I would almost have died. I have said if these tears will pass away I shall be in peace. By and by they will be wiped away forever. "He shall wipe away all tears from their eyes forever." I was once sitting in the house with a mother, when in came the sweetest little daughter. She was crying as if her heart would break. " O mamma, I can't help it! " The tears would fill her eyes again, and she said, "O mamma, I can't help it! " Directly the precious mother pulled the sobbing child up to her lap, and put her daughter's arm on her shoulder, and taking her hand she wiped the tears out of her eyes. Some of these days, when our feet shall strike the golden city, and Christ shall run his hands over these eyes, there shall be no more tears forevei-. O my brother, this journey ends well! There is a world where poor beings will never be tempted any more O my temptations, how they crowd around
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me! I never felt my grip loosened but once. I could feel my grip slipping once. It was the darkest hour my soul ever saw. I tightened that grip again, and I am clinging to the cross in which my hope rests forever. It ends well, blessed be God! St. Paul said: " The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith." It ends well. It ends over yonder at the resurrection morn. I love to go into that cotton factory at Atlanta. When walking about through that factory I have felt every muscle in my body quiver with the magnificent force displayed in the thousands of swiftly flying spindles and shuttles; but when I go down into that little engine-room on the side and see that little engine that is doing all the work, and see the machinery obedient to the pressure of that little engine, it is all explained. It will be a grand sight to me to see my mother and my father and all my loved ones rise up from the grave, and my wife with the glow of beauty and hue of health upon her cheek forever, but it will be a grander sight still to see the arm of Christ behind and sustaining us all. It ends well, blessed be God! I sat there at Atlanta under that car-shed. I am a a great lover of engines. I love to ride on them. I love to see them moving. Good Lord, let me be in thy hands like these engines are in the hands of the engineer! I sat there and saw the Western train roll in, all greasy and dirty from the trip, trembling under the air-brakes. A few minutes later I saw the old State Road engine roll in on time, and her passengers alight on the platform, dusty and tired from the long
journey. Then the Central would roll in and deposit
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her cargo of humanity. Thus shall I stand at the pearly gates and watch the blood-washed souls sweep in forever. I want to stand at the gate of heaven and watch five million blood- washed souls sweep through from this city. We will have time there. obody tired there, thank God! It ends well. O brethren, there are many things I want to see. Sometimes I wish I could live on earth until I see certain consummations. I would like to live to see the day when every sinner on the earth shall be converted to God. I want to see Thomas Jefferson's face when the last government is a republic; I want to see William Penn when the last Indian is in possession of the inheritance of his race; I want to look on the face of Jesus when the last sinner has been washed in the blood and come home to God; but I will never reach the consummation of all my desires until, soul and body, I am housed in heaven. The old ship of Zion has been making her hourly trips backward and forward for six thousand years, bat when that old ship makes her last trip to this world, and we all go on board and strike up the good old song, and when her keel shall strike the banks of eternal deliverance, I shall land to live with God forever. Worthy is the Lord Almighty to receive all honor and power and dominion forever! Blessed Christ, thou art all the world to me, and thy glory I shall see. Brethren, let me say to you that I am moved as I have never been moved before. If I ever get to heaven, and my mother and friends begin to congratulate me, I will be like a friend who gets a telegram to meet another, but the train has gone. He steps on board a grand Rogers engine, and he rolls in
on time and meets his friend. "I congratulate you,"
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says his friend, "that you made your trip in so short a time." "I had very little to do with this trip. I will show you the engine that brought me into town ahead of time." If I ever get to heaven, and mother throws her arms around my neck and congratulates me, I shall say: "Hush, hush, mother, and show me the Lord Jesus, and I will show you the grand soldier that led me and carried me on his shoulders, and brought me all the way to heaven." O Lord, bring these men out and save us in the kingdom of heaven at last! Before we dismiss this congregation you men of thought and intelligence under this tent who will say in your conscience, " God being my helper, I will stand up and say I will meet you in that bright world above," stand up. Will this congregation rise in mass and say that and stick to it till God receives you in heaven? Bless the Lord! Please be seated. Thank God! I want to see all you colored people in heaven, and all you white people in heaven, too. If any of you have got any objection to a woman shouting on her way to God, you are meaner than I am. If there ever was a time when a universal shout should go to heaven from this city, -it is now. Halleluiah to God! Thank God for the victory! That is what shouting means. It means victory. You take a soldier and let him go out and fight all day, and is driven back by the enemy. That soldier goes into his tent and hangs his head. He sallies out to-morrow to fight again, and the first thing you know the enemy's ranks break, and he will shout through blood and thunder to-day. When a fellow puts the world,
the flesh, and the devil to flight, he will shout, or, like an Indian, he will shout a silent shout deep down in
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his soul. ow, brethren, I never felt so grateful in my life as j list now. God knows I want every one of you who sit in this vast audience, who say you have never been received into the Church, to enlist in God's army to-night. I would not mislead a human soul to save my life. The last thing God ever said to man is this, "Whosoever will let him take the water of life freely." Will you come out on God's side? This very moment decide it if you have never decided it before. How many in this vast audience will stand up and say, " I shall and do decide to come out on God's side from this night?" ot less than a thousand, I hope, will stand up and say that. I thank you for your generous kindness to me and mine. I shall ever carry you in my heart. I want to be just as good and efficient in God's service as it is possible to be. I want every one of you to pray foi me along through life, and we will pray for each other. ow, you can understand something about the power. You have been analyzing this thing for three weeks. If you take this power away from me, I am about the weakest, sorriest case you ever saw. ow, after the congregation is dismissed, if any want to talk on the subject of religion, you take these front seats.
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SAYI GS. If there is any thing the Lord has to do before you can go to heaven, I will go his security. Bight in the middle of the path of duty there is no power in earth or hell that can harm you; but you had better mind how you take to the bushes along the way — there is danger there! The devil goes about preaching feeling; God preaches faith. True religion is not feeling — that is its lowest element; but religion is a grand principle underlying every stratum of human life. If I can't bring the Bible down to my experience and my experience up to the Bible, you may burn it up — it is not worth any thing to me. Bring the book down to a level with me, or bring me up to the level of the book — then it is God's book to me. Suppose you owned all of this world — what would it be worth to you? You could put two such worlds in your vest-pocket, and go up and spend the night on the Dog Star, and you would not have enough to pay your hotel bill in the morning. You are a poor fool to be holding on to this old world and sinking down to hell! You turn this world loose and go with us to heaven.
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